Canadian Zonals and Kingston Easter Congress: Best Games Awards

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  • Canadian Zonals and Kingston Easter Congress: Best Games Awards

    FM Hans Jung and I are in the process of collaborating, to determine the Best Games Awards, for the recently finished Kingston events! This was a very successful festival, with about 100 players playing nine rounds over six days, in five sections, in the largest Canadian tournament for two years, I believe, while the COVID-19 pandemic has led to cancellations of chess events across Canada.

    Other recent posts on the site have discussed aspects of the event.

    We have $600 to award for Best Games, with $400 from me, and $200 from the Kingston Chess Club. Both Hans and I have been playing through games from these events for the past several days. With nearly 500 games to examine, this has been time-consuming, but very enjoyable as well!!

    There is a great abundance of competitive and interesting games to choose from, and we aim to do our best to be thorough and fair. No more than one award per player.

    Our plan, discussed as well with head organizer IA / IO Aris Marghetis, is to present the news on this site, over the next couple of weeks, usually with one prize game per day, with some light notes.

    Aris will then transfer the cash prizes to the winners!!

    So, patrons have some fun coming up! And, we will have a historical record of our finest chess!!

    Frank Dixon
    NTD, Kingston

  • #2
    Thanks Frank. When you/Hans have the complete list of winners, I wouldn't mind being emailed the whole list, so I can add to prizes I'm already e-transferring out, saving e-transfer costs, thanks.


    • #3
      Yes, Aris, Hans and I have been in touch, and we will certainly inform you of the complete winners' list when completed.


      • #4
        FM Hans Jung and I are pleased to announce our first winner of a Best Game Prize from Kingston 2022!!!

        Right now we have $600 available, and have agreed that this will be apportioned in $40 prizes, to make a total of 15 awarded. All of the five sections will receive at least one prize.

        Best Game from the Women's Zonal goes to WGM Maili-Jade Ouellet, for her win as Black over WIM Svitlana Demchenko. The game was played in round four of the nine-round tournament. It is not only a first-rate game, but was the most consequential, in terms of determining the final outcome. WGM Ouellet scored 9/9, while WIM Demchenko scored 7.5/9. Had this result been reversed, with everything else equal to what happened, then WIM Demchenko would have been the champion.

        In my opinion, this game by WGM Ouellet is certainly in the conversation for the best game ever played in a women's championship in Canada, and also joins the conversation for the best game ever played by a Canadian woman. My two favorites from that second category are wins by WIM Nava Starr from the Lucerne Olympiad 1982, where Nava won a bronze medal on board one; she defeated WGM Barbara Hund and IM (now GM) Pia Cramling, both with the Black pieces, both in fantastic games.

        Tomorrow, we will present the game score with comments.

        Congratulations, Maili-Jade, for this game, and for an absolutely amazing performance in Kingston 2022!! Good Luck and Good Skill from here!!


        • #5
          It certainly is a lovely game ( a real fighting game which Im fond of) Thanks for posting Frank (and also for the additional comments)


          • #6
            WIM Svitlana Demchenko -- WGM Maili-Jade Ouellet
            Canadian Women's Zonal 2022, Kingston, ON, rd. 4, played April 15
            Time controls 40/90' + 30", SD/30' + 30"
            Organizer and Chief Arbiter: IA /IO Aris Marghetis
            Caro-Kann Defense, B10
            Brief comments by Frank Dixon

            1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Ne5
            [A quirky-looking move (moving the knight twice in four moves), but one which has attracted significant attention from top players in the past 20 years. It is a form of the well-known Exchange variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3) to which it could transpose. A very well known game in that line is Fischer -- Tigran V. Petrosian, Rest of the World vs. USSR, Belgrade 1970, board 2, won brilliantly by Fischer. Recent games with the line involving top GMs include: Karjakin 1-0 Wei, Russia 2019; Svidler 1/2 Firouzja, Skilling Open 2020; Morozevich 1-0 Bareev, Melody Amber 2005; and Harikrishna 1-0 Dreev, Bilbao 2014. Here, the quiet opening choice from White does not by any means signal peaceable intentions!]
            4...Nf6 5.d4 g6 6.Bd3
            [Canada's own IM Noritsyn tried 6.Be2 vs. GM Howell in the Online Olympiad 2021, winning the game in fine style.]
            6...Bg7 7.c3 O-O 8.O-O Nc6 9.f4 Bf5!?
            [Bold play from Black, not fearing the damaged structure in front of her King!]
            10.Bxf5 gxf5 11.Nd2 e6 12.Rf3 Ne7 13.Rh3 Ng6!
            [Protecting her King's defense.]
            14.Nf1 Qc7 15.Ng3 Rfe8 16.Be3 Rac8 17.Qe2 Nf8 18.Kh1 Re7 19.Rg1 Ne4!
            [This central knight will be a key strongpoint in Black's position for most of the rest of the game, controlling key squares and inhibiting White's ability to coordinate her forces for kingside attack.]
            20.Nh5 f6 21.Nd3 Ng6 22.g4 Nd6 23.g5 fxg5! 24.Rxg5 Ne4! 25.Rg2 Qc4! 26.a3 Rf8 27.Bf2 Rff7 28.Qe1 Kf8!!
            [Black concludes that her King needs to flee the ominous and dangerous buildup of White's kingside forces. It begins a lengthy journey to safety, by move 39, on a6!]
            29.Bh4 Rc7 30.Ne5 Bxe5 31.fxe5 Ke8 32.Bf6 Kd7 33.Rf3 Kc6 34.h4 b6 35.Ng7 Nf8 36.h5 Kb7 37.Qh4 Qa4!
            [Black's queen continues its sequence of pestering moves, eventually infiltrating with advantage.]
            38.Rf1 Qc6 39.h6 Ka6 40.Rf3 Qd7 41.Nh5 Qa4 42.Rf1 Qb5 43.Rfg1 Qd3 44.Nf4 Qf3! 45.Kh2 Rc8 46.Bg7 Rc6 47.Rc2 Nd7 48.Nh5 f4! 49.Qg4 Qd3 50.Qe2 Qxe2+ 51.Rxe2 Rf5 52.Nf6 Ndxf6!
            [Not fearing the resulting passed f-pawn, watched by her R/f5.]
            53.exf6 f3! 54.Rxe4
            [White, in frustration, finally gives up the Exchange for the mighty knight, but this creates united passed pawns which win quickly.]
            54...dxe4 55.f7 Rxf7 56.Kg3 e3 57.Be5 f2, 0-1.
            [Exceptional play by Black against sturdy resistance.]


            • #7
              Good notes. The overview: good opening by white, a pawn chain across the board with an advanced outpost on g7 (but no clear way to proceed further). Good defensive play by Black, a king walk across the board! - a black queen foray - a dominant knight on e4 - great timing on pawn advance f4! - f3! - frustration by white with Rxe4. A game full of dramatic moments.


              • #8
                The game could be reviewed at
                (don't forget to remove engine's evaluations not to spoil the view)

                Originally posted by Frank Dixon View Post
                ...this creates united passed pawns
                imho, they are more commonly known as "connected".


                • #9
                  FM Hans Jung and I are pleased to announce our next winner for Best Game, from the Kingston 2022 Festival.

                  A prize for 'Excellence and Courage in Attack!' is awarded to FM (elect) Zachary Dukic, for his amazing win over GM Bator Sambuev, from round 8 of the Zonal!!

                  This is a game very many people have been talking about!!

                  We will provide the game score tomorrow, with some light notes. I would not be surprised if others would wish to join the discussion on the analysis!!


                  • #10
                    Sorry for the delay in providing this game! Prize for 'Excellence and Courage in Attack'!!

                    NM Zachary Dukic (2236 FIDE) -- GM Bator Sambuev (2500 FIDE)
                    Canadian Zonal, Kingston 2022, round 8, played April 17
                    French Defense, Winawer, C16
                    Organizer, Head Arbiter: IA / IO Aris Marghetis
                    Brief notes by Frank Dixon

                    1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4
                    [The Winawer Variation, one of the most difficult in chess, popularized by the 19th century German Master Simon Winawer. It is sometimes known as the Nimzowitsch Variation, after Aron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935), since he later played it extensively with success, early in the 20th century. One telling comment about it, from 'Modern Chess Openings, 10th edition (1965)', from author GM Larry Evans: "The Winawer Variation is a game in itself, and a final estimate will not be ventured here." Another telling comment, this one from GM Bobby Fischer, in his book 'My 60 Memorable Games', annotations to his win over GM Klaus Darga in 1960: "I may yet be forced to admit that the Winawer is sound. But I doubt it! The defense is anti-positional and weakens the Kingside." It is noteworthy that Fischer struggled against this line. He lost against future GM Vlado Kovacevic, then virtually unknown, at Rovinj-Zagreb 1970, early in his astonishing 3-year run to the world title. Other losses were to GMs Ivkov (Santiago 1959), Uhlmann (Buenos Aires 1960), and Mednis (US Ch. 1962-63). He also lost a number of simul games in the line in 1964. He had hardly ever faced it until he became a GM. But a fantastic win in the Winawer, over GM Bent Larsen in game one of their Candidates' match, Denver 1971, set the tone for that match, won 6-0 by Fischer. GM Mikhail Botvinnik, writing the Introduction to the book 'Understanding the French Defense', RHM, 1975, said "The French Defense is a difficult and dangerous opening!" He was the world-class player who popularized the Winawer, starting in the mid-1930s, and scored many important wins with it.]
                    [World-class players who have essayed 4.a3, all by 1970, include Alekhine, Keres, Smyslov, and Fischer.]
                    [This particular line was popularized by future World Champion GM Tigran Petrosian in the 1950s. It requires superb positional judgement. White needs to play actively, a prescription taken up admirably by Zach in this game! One World Champion, not normally a French player, was tripped up in Geller -- Karpov, 44th USSR Championship, Moscow 1976; Geller was coaching Karpov at the time, and Karpov, hoping to surprise his coach, played the French, perhaps counting on Geller's usual reply 3.Nd2, but Efim crossed up his pupil with 3.Nc3! Then, 3...Bb4 4.e5, and the game headed into the ...b6/...Qd7 line. Geller won brilliantly! Karpov still won the championship!]
                    5.h4!? Qd7 6.h5 h6 7.Qg4 Bf8 8.b4!?
                    [I had a chance to watch part of Zach's analysis of this game in the skittles room, and he liked this move. One crazy line shown by Zach can go 8...Bxb4 9.Qxg7 Bxc3+ 10.Kd1 Bxa1 11.Qxh8, and Zach liked his position! Looking at shows us that there has been a total of 11 different moves tried here, in only 23 example games, so the main line is not yet established. Known, in addition to the text, are: 8.Be3, 8.Nf3, 8.Rh3, 8.a4, 8.Bb5, 8.Bd2, 8.Nb5, 8.a3, 8.f4, and 8.Qd1.]
                    8...Ne7 9.b5 a6 10.Nf3 axb5 11.Nxb5 Ba6 12.a4 Nf5 13.Rb1 Nc6 14.Qf4 Na5 15.g4 Ne7 16.Rh3 g5!?
                    [Very provocative! I'm not going to get into a deep analysis of a game which is this complex, although I watched it take place live in the tournament hall. I think that would be best left to Masters, ideally the players themselves. But I do want to suggest one alternative here: 16...O-O-O!?, offering the f-pawn. At least Black's King would reach much greater safety than in the game! Neither player winds up castling!]
                    17.Qf6! Rh7 18.Nxg5!?
                    [Zach decides to go for it! A piece sac for two pawns, and a very unclear position, where Black will have to defend for a long time. It is a Tal-type sacrifice, with long-term consequences essentially unfathomable! A superb choice, very courageous, when contending for a championship and norm possibilities!]
                    18...hxg5 19.Bxg5 Ng8 20.Qf4 Be7 21.Bd3 Rh8 22.h6 Bxb5 23.Bxb5 c6 24.Bd3 Qd8 25.Bxe7 Nxe7 26.Qf6 Rf8 27.h7 Kd7!
                    [Defending the h8 square along the rank!]
                    28.Qg7 c5 29.c3 cxd4 30.cxd4 Nc4 31.Rf3! Qe8 32.Bxc4 dxc4 33.Rxb6 Kc7 34.Rb5 Nc6
                    [The time control at move 40 was looming, with both players running short on the clock at this juncture. White had four minutes left, Black three. White's greater space and activity, with his advanced h-pawn a major threat, pose serious problems for Black.]
                    [White's rooks prepared to double on the queenside, advancing his attack.]
                    35...Kd7 36.Rxc4 Ra7 37.Rfc3! Qa8 38.Rc6 Nh8 39.d5!
                    [The winning idea!]
                    39...exd5 40.e6+ Ke7 41.Qg5+ f6 42.Qg7+ Nf7 43.exf7, 1-0.
                    [WOW!! Zach said it was his first win in a dozen tries against Bator. The two have met frequently in Ottawa EOCA events; Bator travels from Montreal to compete, while Zach has been a University of Ottawa student in recent years. This game will have an enduring value in Canadian chess history!]


                    • #11
                      Frank has definitely described the flavor and atmosphere of this game well and gives very enthusiastic notes, so I will only add a few points.
                      8.b4!? is the first move of interest. Stockfish gives 8...f5!? in reply (a similar idea was championed by Botvinnik long ago)
                      On Black's move 16 the alternative 0-0-0 was suggested. This does not work because of 17.Nd6+ and 18.Bxa6+.
                      18.Nxg5! To me this is the most interesting move of the game and it is the reason for our choice of this game for best game prize. Zach definitely showed character, courage, and creativity throughout this game! Frank's description in the notes is excellent.
                      The last move of the game could also have been 43.h8 =Q as the queen could not be touched due to checkmate. Certainly the double attacking pawn levers (can openers) of d5 and e6 lead to a picturesque finish of the attack.


                      • #12
                        We have decided to go with only one award per player, so there were some tough decisions. For example - Yuanchen Zhang beat GM Sambuev in round 7 and that setup Zach Dukic's upset of GM Sambuev in round 8. Here is the game: Yuanchen Zhang - GM Bator Sambuev 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Bd2 Qe7 4.Nc3 f5 5.e3 b6 6.Nge2 Nf6 7.Qc2 0-0 8.a3 Bxc3 9.Nxc3 Bd7 10.0-0-0 d5 11.f3 c5 12.cxd5 Nxd5 13.dxc5 Nd7 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 White has gained the two bishops and clarifies the center. Black gets his attack going. 15.c6 Nc5 16.Bb4 Bxc6 Note the excellent moves c6 and the pin Bb4 which take the sting out of Black's attack. 17.Bxc5 bxc5 18.Bc4 Rab8 19.Rd2 Bd5 20.Rhd1 Rb6 21.Bxd5 exd5 22.Rxd5 Qxe3+ 23.Qd2 Qe7 24.Re1 Qf6 25.Rxc5 h6 26.Kb1 Rfb8 27.Rc2 Kh7 28.Re3 Rd8 29.Rd3 Rdb8 30.Qc3 Qg6 31.Qd4 R8b7 32.Qd5 Re7 33.Ka2 R6e6 34.Rc8 Qf6 35.Rd2 Qg5 36.Rd8 Qf4 37.g3 Qg5 38.Rf8 Kg6 39.h4 1-0 Ends with the tickler! (irritating pawn move) If 39...Qh5 40.g4 Qxh4 41.Qxf5# or 40....fxg4 41.Qd3+ wins at least a rook. Certainly Black's defensive play at the end could be questioned but kudos to White for keeping up the pressure and good defense.


                        • #13
                          Another candidate for game prize was Tyler Tanaka - Yuanchen Zhang in the last round where Black needed to win at all cost (and did!) but it sure looked unclear and lost for Black for sometime. What a dramatic finish! I will be posting that game shortly.


                          • #14
                            Tyler Tanaka - Yuanchen Zhang 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 c5 3.Nf3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.d4 e6 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4 b6 12.0-0 Bb7 13.Rfe1 Nd7 14.a4 Rc8 15.Bd3 a5 16.Rab1 h6 17.Qf4 Rc3 18.Bb5 Nf6 19.Rbd1 Qc7 20.Qh4 Rd8 21.d5 exd5 22.e5 Nd7 23.e6 fxe6 24.Rxe6 Nf6 White breaks through with e5 - e6 (Here 25.Rxf6 gxf6 26.Qxf6 doesnt work due to Rd6 or 26.Qxh6 Qg7) 25.Ree1 Rc8 26.Nd4 Ne4 27.f3 Ng5 28.Kh1 Qf7 29.Qg4 Rf8 30.Bd7 Bc8 31.Bxc8 Rcxc8 32.h4 Nh7 33.Re6 Nf6 34.Qf5 Rc4 35.Qe5 Re8 36.Rb1 Rxe6 37.Nxe6 Rxh4+ 38.Kg1 Rxa4 39.Rxb6 Rb4 40.Qb8+ Qe8 41.Qa7 Nd7 42.Rd6 Rb1+ 43.Kf2 Rb2+ 44.Kg1 Rb1+ 45.Kf2 Rb2+ 46.Kg1 Qh5 Black has done a great job on defense but now switches to activating his queen. (47.Qxd7 Rb1+ 48.Kf2 Qh4+ leads to the white king being checkmated} 47.Qd4 Qe5 48.Qxe5 Nxe5 49.Rxd5 Nc4 50.Rd7 g5 51.Nc5 Ne3 52.Ne4 Kf8 53.g4 Nc4 54.Ra7 Ke8 55.Nf6+ Kd8 56.Ng8 Rc2 (Here 57.Nxh6 Kc8 58.Nf7 Kb8 59.Re7a4 60.Nxg5 a3 61.Re1 Nd2 and White is lost but 57.Ne7 recycling the knight to c6 or f5 should hold) 57.Kf1 Rd2 58.Nxh6 Kc8 59.Ke1 Rh2 60.Nf7 Kb8 61.Re7 a4 62.Re4 Nb2 63.Re3 Kb7 64.Nxg5 Kb6 65.Ne6 Nc4 66.Re4 Kb5 67.Nc7+ Kb4 68.Nd5+ Kb3 69.Ne3 Nb2 70.Re8 Nd3+ 71.Kf1 a3 72.Rb8+ Nb4 73.Kg1 Re2 74.Nd5 a2 75.Rxb4+ Ka3 76.Kf1 Rc2 0-1
                            Last edited by Hans Jung; Tuesday, 17th May, 2022, 10:19 AM.


                            • #15
                              This game is certainly another tremendous win by FM Zhang, who recovered wonderfully well from his round three loss to FM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux (now IM Rodrigue-Lemieux)!

                              Winning in the last round, against a strong opponent, with the Black pieces, to pull into a tie for first place -- you can't really ask for more than that!!

                              We can consider this game as an 'Honorable Mention', since FM Zhang (Now IM Zhang!!) has already received an award for his victory over IM Noritsyn.